By Barb Waldsmith
Twenty high school coaches from across the country have been selected 2011 National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.
The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in one “other” category that is not included in these 20 categories. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year in which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2010-11 school year.
Recipients of the 2011 NFHS national awards for boys sports are:
Thurman Bell, football, Roseburg (Oregon) High School; Jerry Cutright, track and field, Mineral (Virginia) Louisa County High School; Jim Eekhoff, basketball, Hull (Iowa) Western Christian High School; Ernie Smith, baseball, Nashville (Tennessee) David Lipscomb High School; Kevin Johnson, soccer, Kingwood (Texas) High School; Rocky Nelson, wrestling, Heber (Arizona) Mogollon High School; Jerry Becker, cross country, Eagle Grove (Iowa) High School; Richard Taylor, tennis, Forest Grove (Oregon) High School; Jeffrey Doherty, golf, Edmond (Oklahoma) North High School; and Milton Briggs, swimming and diving, East Grand Rapids (Michigan) High School.
Recipients of this year’s national awards for girls sports are:
Ted Zuzzio, track and field, Baldwin City (Kansas) Baldwin High School; Suzanne Oelschlegel, basketball, Irving (Texas) MacArthur High School; Rose Ella Cheek, volleyball, Siloam Springs (Arkansas) High School; Richard Berthiaume, St. Albans (Vermont) Bellows Free Academy; Alexis Salvo, soccer, Ogden (Utah) St. Joseph Catholic High School; James Holdren Jr., cross country, Richmond (Virginia) Maggie Walker Governor’s School; Dick Villaflor, tennis, Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) Heritage Hall High School; Shannon Dunworth, swimming and diving, Farmington Hills (Michigan) Mercy High School; and Carolyn Rae Hernandez, spirit, Nogales (Arizona) High School. A national coach of the year was not selected for lacrosse – the 10th girls sport.
The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for other sports is Harvey Cohen, boys ice hockey, Chatham (New Jersey) High School.
In addition to the 20 National Coaches of the Year, the NFHS Coaches Association has selected Rick Sherley of Sugar Land, Texas, executive director of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, as the recipient of the National Coach Contributor Award. This award is presented to an individual who has gone above and beyond and who exemplifies the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and moral character, and who carries the endorsement of his or her respective state high school association.
The NFHS has a contact person in each state who is responsible for selecting deserving coach award recipients. This contact person often works with the state coaches’ association in their respective states. He or she contacts the potential state award recipients to complete a coach profile form that requests information regarding the coach’s record, membership in and affiliation with coaching and other professional organizations, involvement with other school and community activities and programs, and coaching philosophy. To be approved as an award recipient and considered for sectional and national coach of the year consideration, this profile form must be completed by the coach or designee and then approved by the executive director (or designee) of the state athletic/activities association.
The next award level after state coach of the year is sectional coach of the year. The NFHS is divided into eight geographical sections. They are as follows: Section 1 – Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT); Section 2 – Mideast (DE, DC, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WV); Section 3 – South (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN); Section 4 – Central (IL, IN, IA, MI, WI); Section 5 – Midwest (KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD); Section 6 – Southwest (AR, CO, NM, OK, TX); Section 7 – West (AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT); and Section 8 – Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY).
The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory board, composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives, which considers the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and selects the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The advisory board forwards those recommendations to the NFHS national office in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The NFHS Coaches Association advisory committee considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system, and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, plus one “other” category.
A total of 407 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barb Waldsmith, administrative assistant with the NFHS who works with the NFHS Coaches Association and the NFHS Coach Education Program.